An Interview with………….Kevin Hunt, Scorpion Ribs

As part of a new feature, we’re going to be interviewing interesting individuals from across the superyacht world. They could be longstanding individuals with a career spent in the industry, up and coming superstars or even business leaders from some of the biggest names in yachting

Our first interview is with a gentleman who has spent his whole life in the yachting world. Kevin Hunt has worked across the industry for a host of well known names in small craft. He is currently MD of the well known Scorpion Ribs in Lymington as well as an active member of The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights and a huge advocate of marine apprenticeships. 

We ask him about his reasons for getting into the industry and his advice for those looking to join it

Image Credit – Scorpion Ribs

You’ve been in the industry for your entire working life. What prompted you to train within the marine world and what’s kept you a part of it?

I’m one of nine children ( four brothers and four sisters) . My father spent many years working at the dry dock in Southampton, plus I also have three bothers working in the marine industry. It’s in the family DNA. Having completed a full apprenticeship and qualified as a wooden shipwright some thirty years ago, I have enjoyed every minuet of the past thirty years. There are many challenges and your experience comes in to play on a daily basis to overcome these.  Every day is different but rewarding at the same time, and that’s what keeps me going.

 

What would you say to the school age children of today thinking of becoming marine-sector qualified and do you believe the marine sector are doing enough to encourage either apprenticeships or mid-life retraining when it comes to boatbuilding as a broad skillset?

I would say that if you enjoy the water along with boating, ( both great fun) then why not. Its glamorous but it’s hard work and very rewarding. There are also many opportunities from marine engineering – boat building – boat design – boat sales all the way through to marine electronics meaning there is quite a scope to cover most interests. I would also point out, that hard work is recognised within the industry and you can climb to the top of the ladder given time. There are also so many nice people who you will meet and work with along the way.

 

I believe the marine sector is trying its very best to encourage new apprentices and there are the larger companies that have 10 -20 apprentices on their books. I feel the major problem is funding within the industry for smaller companies  who would like to expand and would like  government to step in and help more. It’s a small industry which contributes a large amount to the UK economy with little help.

 

Do you be believe that there are opportunities for non-marine skilled trades to make the step across to marine? If not, what would your advice be to someone wanting to make an industry change?

I do believe that there are opportunities for non-marine skilled trades to make the step across in to the marine sectors but it takes time to understand the requirements of boat building etc and time should be allowed for this. Of course I know a carpenter could adapt to interior fit out and likewise with car mechanics, they could easily adapt given time. My outlook is that when we put boats to sea, you should also have in the back of your mind that if it breaks down then life could be at risk, you can’t just leave it like you could a car and therefore everything you do has to be 110% percent perfect and as long as you have that in the back of your mind at all times, then yes a transition should be possible.

Image Credit – Powerboats. & RIB magazine

As a leader of a well known brand, where do you see the industry heading? 

I see more and more clients wanting to put their own ideas into a project in order to have something a little different and to their personal preference. This also helps with keeping ideas fresh flowing. I would like to think that more recyclable materials will be used for construction across the build in order to become greener. Renewable materials should be used now where possible in order to help with the environmental impact of boatbuilding. To coincide with this I also think electric and Hydrogen powerplants, be they hybrid or self-reliance will make huge leaps within the next five to ten years, replacing the current powerplants. However investment is required and I hope that we see this happens soon 

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